Saturday, November 10, 2012
I think I miss Christmas. Not the religious celebration, but the idea around "Christmas Time."
Ya'll know what I mean right...
In the United States, Christmas is not really about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, it is about celebrating. It is a holiday that even atheists participate in because it is not socially considered to be a "religious" holiday anymore.
I miss being excited and seeing everyone else be excited. I miss eating gingerbread cookies and stringing up lights and watching old clay-mation movies on tv with my dad.
I miss the anticipation and feeling like a little kid. I miss the generous spirit that some people develop during this time.
There are so many things that are wrong with the celebration of Christmas, but it is difficult to let go of the things that feel right.
InshaAllah if I am blessed with children one day, I would love for them to feel about 3id the way that I felt about Christmas as a kid. I want there to be a sense of wonder and nostalgia; of excitement and generosity. I want to have family traditions that my children can look back on and smile about.
InshaAllah it's time to start planning.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Hidey! (In Arkansas, we say hidey instead of howdy like in the west. This is not as common among young people.)
I thought today I would give you a small lesson on speaking like an Arkansan (ar-KAN-zan): that is, someone from Arkansas (AR-ken-saw).
The dialect of Arkansas is considered part of a grouping of "Southern" dialects, but is quite different than those found in the deep south. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Ozark" dialect. While it has differences from other southern accents, most Northern, Eastern, and Western Americans will identify the Ozark speaker as Southern.
Accents are quite varied even across Arkansas itself, with an especially marked difference between urban and rural speakers and also older generations vs. younger.
Most southern dialects are characterized by dropping "r" sounds which aren't followed by vowels. For example in the deep south you will hear people pronounce the word southern (SUH-thun) or Georgia (Jo-juh).
An Ozark speaker however will often heavily accent the "r" sound. For instance someone from Arkansas would pronounce southern (SUH-thern or suhth-ren). Any "er" sound will be quite pronounced. Sometimes they even add "r" sounds where there aren't any, for example (warsh) instead of "wash."
Along with most southerners, the Ozark speaker will tend to make contractions of words.
- y'all: you + all "Are y'all comin' to dinner?"
- yunt: you + want "Yunt to go fishin'?"
- wachu: what + you "Wachu eatin'?"
- gonna: going + to "You gonna go to the fair?"
- ain't: are/am + not "I ain't gonna hurt you."
- innit: isn't + it "It's a nice day outside, innit?"
- yonder: there, a distance away "The barn is over yonder."
- any more: from now on "I'm not gonna do that any more." This is used differently from how mid-westerners use this phrase. We use it to mean a cessation of activity from this point forward where mid-westerns use it to mean something like "presently" for example "Any more, I like to drink coke."
- fixin' ta/ fixing to: about to, getting ready to "I'm fixin' ta go to town."
- do what?: what did you say? could you repeat that?
It's a little bit of a stereotype, but the Beverly Hillbillies speak the Ozark Dialect! They don't sound much different from the people who live in the hills of North Arkansas. The funny phrases are not made up, real people do actually talk that way. If you notice in the first episode they mention going to Eureka Springs to see the "moving picture." That is in Northwest Arkansas ;-)
These girls sound like Central Arkansas (where I grew up):
From South Missouri, but her accent is very similar to North Arkansas (same Region) similar to accent in some parts of Tennessee/Appalachians, however older generations tend to have this accent but more exaggerated:
Rural Arkansas (the guy with the horse) some of the people are laughing at his accent, but notice he doesn't care because Arkansans are a proud people:
West Arkansas (to me is very similar to Central Arkansas):
Thursday, May 24, 2012
word by word translation: http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=109&verse=1
English Interpretation of the Meaning:
1. Say, "Oh Disbelievers!
2. I do not worship what you worship.
3. Nor are you worshipers of whom I worship.
4. Nor will I be a worshiper of what you worshiped.
5. Nor will you be worshipers of whom I worship.
6. To you be your religion and to me my religion."
Notes from the Tafsir:
It was reported that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam) was seen praying this surah and surat al-ikhlas during:
- the two rakah of tawaf
- the two rakah of sunnah before fajr
- the two rakah after isha
Monday, May 21, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Being a Muslim in Arkansas makes for a life that is very difficult to describe. My life is a surprising mix of exposure to many different cultures.
First, I live in the Bible Belt. The Bible Belt is large swath of the United States located in the South that is home to many many Christians chiefly of the Protestant variety and Baptist persuasion.
|Here courtesy of Wikipedia, you see the Bible Belt with my home-state just about right smack-dab in the middle of it.|
Being a member of the Bible Belt means that Arkansas tends to have a generally socially and religiously conservative population. For instance, I grew up in a dry county. This means that my county had voted to make the sale of alcohol illegal. The consumption of alcohol was not illegal, but you couldn't sell the stuff within our county. Another example; one of my ancestors was famous for getting kicked out of a Methodist congregation for dancing in the church.
Being in the Bible Belt also means raising your boys to be southern gentlemen. Sadly this principle is not quite as important as it once was, but is probably still more prevalent than in other parts of the country. For instance, when I converted to Islam and started wearing hijab, many men look at their shoes as I walked by in the store, held the door for me, and called me "ma'am." That is because it was easy to recognize me as a "lady" and that is how good southern boys learned to treat ladies.
Now, I am quite obviously Muslim on sight, and this has been known to cause some uncertain feelings for the good ol' boys, but alhamdulillah it hasn't caused me any serious trouble.
Second, I live in a Muslim community. This is like a second layer. Its a little bit like being in a no-so-secret club. We have our own greet and handshake and everything :-P
Living in a Muslim community means that I am introduced to many different cultures and languages and ideas and histories... It is one of the things I love most about Islam. Many people would be very very surprised to find so much diversity in Arkansas of all places. (I should be clear that Arkansas has a reputation for being a bit rural and backwards, although it really isn't that bad. Mississippi is much worse :-P)
Ok so that is kind of a brief introduction inshaAllah... I want to write some more about the culture I grew up in and the culture that I currently live in because I think it is fascinating. An anthropologists dream...
Friday, May 18, 2012
word by word translation: http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=110&verse=1
English Interpretation of the Meaning:
1. When the Help of Allah and the Victory comes,
2. and you see the people entering the religion of Allah in crowds/troops,
3. then glorify with the Praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is oft-forgiving.
Notes from the Tafsir:
The meaning of this surah is like the meaning of 1/4 of the Qur'an subhanAllah. It is very short but there is much wisdom inside it. This is said to be the last complete surah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam) before his death.
In this surah, Allah was informing the prophet (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam) of his impending death. When this was revealed, he knew that his time was near. Indeed, he died within the year.
Verse 1~ the Victory (al-FatH): this is the final victory of the Muslims in Makkah. FatH means also opening, and this victory was an opening of the city. This was to be a sign that the end of the life of the prophet was near.
Verse 2~ entering in multitudes: another sign, many tribes and cities in the peninsula were waiting to see if the Muslims would be able to take Makkah. If they were able to take the city the they would know that Muhammad was a true prophet of God. When this happened, Arabs entered the religion of Islam in large groups, rushing to make their pledge to the Prophet of Allah.
Verse 3~ instruction upon seeing the signs of the end of his life, A'isha said she would hear her husband glorifying Allah and asking forgiveness even more often toward the end of his days.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
word by word translation http://corpus.quran.com/wordbyword.jsp?chapter=111&verse=1
English Interpretation of the Meaning:
1. Ruined are the hands of Abu Lahab and he is ruined.
2. Neither his wealth nor his gains will help him.
3. He will burn in the Blazing Fire
4. and so will his wife, the firewood carrier
5. with a palm-fiber rope around her neck.
Notes from Tafsir:
Abu Lahab was the Prophet's (salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam) Uncle and he was called Abu Lahab [meaning Father of Flame] because of the redness of his face. He spoke often and openly of his contempt for Islam and the believers. Abu Lahab would follow him around as he called the people to Islam, telling everyone that he was a crazy liar.
Verse 1~ perish the hands of Abu Lahab: this is like a supplication against him
and perish he/he is ruined: this is information about his status and his future in the next life.
Verse 4~ firewood carrier: this is a kind of pun. The wife of Abu Lahab use to throw thorns in the path of the Prophet Muhammad salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam. Also it is a description of her punishment. She will help to administer the punishment because she was supportive of his disbelief in this life
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I have been trying for days to write something here, but I feel there is a big huge brick wall before me.
I never understood "writers block" until now...
When I think of what I should write I feel a big blank space where ideas should be. I feel like I am not this person anymore, and I can't think of what she would say.
When I wrote this blog everything was new and exciting. I was passionate and opinionated. In a lot of ways I was better than I am now.
Now things seem much more ordinary and I have realized as I learn more that I am still so ignorant... I realize that I am not qualified to be over opinionated and I feel shy to dispense advice. I am flawed.
I have made many mistakes and continue to stumble along the path, but I feel a hypocrite trying to write here with the passion I once had.
So I guess that the real reason I haven't written on the blog in so long is that I have outgrown it a bit in it's current incarnation. The girl who wrote this blog is not really me...
Should I overhaul and try to start anew, or should I try to continue on in this vein?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Hey sisters, I'm so sorry that I have been neglecting this blog so badly...
I don't want to close it, but my life has taken a lot of changes and I'm not sure exactly where this blog fits in anymore. Unfortunately that has led to me slacking off here.
Are there still people coming and reading? Is there anyone interested in new content? What kind of stuff are you interested in hearing about?
I started this blog talking a lot about comparative religion and my experiences in Arkansas as a new minority. For the last semester I've been out of the state, and really out of touch with the world lol.
Anyway, thanks for your input sisters, Jazakum Allah Khair!!!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
|Baby Mother Teresa|
|Little girl, Persian maybe? It looks like an open chador|
|Beautiful little Pakistani Girl|
|I realllly dig her awesome glasses!|
|A little Bandana Girl|
Monday, February 6, 2012
I got this from a sister's blog, little auntie. InshaAllah will find a link soon but I wanted to post it before I forgot. This is one of my favorite hadith and I think that I refer to this at least daily...
“What is lawful is clear, and what is unlawful is clear. And in between
the two are doubtful matters [whose rulings] many people do not know. He who guards against the
doubtful safeguards his religion and honor, and he who falls into the doubtful falls into the unlawful,
just as a shepherd who grazes his flock around a preserve will likely soon graze them in it. Indeed, every king has a preserve, and the preserve of Allāh are the things he has declared unlawful” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī)
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I have had a problem concentrating during salah. I would fidgit, my mind would wander, and sometimes I would just go through the motions without a lot of feeling or meaning.
I tried a lot of techniques to help me try to concentrate but I still always felt like I was sort of impatient with my salah overall.
But finally alhamdulillah I found something that has been working for me.
I love being in water. To me there is nothing more relaxing or comforting than moving through water. SubhanAllah it feels like a hug and a pat on the back and a pillow around your body taking the stress from your bones and your muscles. When I am in the water my mind is free to concentrate on anything.
So I decided that when I made salah I would pretend I was in the water. When I am standing or sitting I can feel weightless and natural, when I'm moving I can feel the resistance and support of the water and my movements are less rushed and jerky and impatient.
SubhanAllah when I take care of the motions of my body in this way, my mind is free to concentrate on what I am saying and meaning. Its like when I started slowing down my body movements and relaxing all of those muscles, my mind was so much more focused. I feel so much more comfortable in salah this way, and I feel like I am using my time in salah much more productively alhamdulillah.
How do you keep your concentration in salah? Do you have techniques that help you?
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I just realized it is exceedingly difficult to have a meaningful theological discussion over twitter.
Also it is sad that people need excuses like football to bond with other people of different beliefs instead of being able to bond over our shared humanity... Or is football a metaphor for our shared humanity? :-P maybe not.
In any event, visca barca
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I know... it has been an embarrassingly long time again. Please accept my apologies.
Today I want to share with you how I deal with my eyebrows. I know it's a strange topic but it is definitely something that I wish someone had given me tips on when I converted to Islam.
Okay, first things first. No plucking obviously. The idea behind it is that plucking eyebrows is a kind of vanity and deception. So with this in mind, I find that it is equally vain and deceptive to cut the eyebrows and also to bleach them in such a way as to make them look smaller. There are different scholarly rulings on this issue and most of them don't agree with mine, this is just the level of comfort I have achieved with what I believe is the spirit behind the prohibition. I'm talking about my own comfort zone here, not my scholarly opinion or anything since the hadith as far as I understand doesn't specifically say that coloring eyebrows is wrong or anything.
So that being said, and inshaAllah clarified, what am I supposed to do with my new Muslimah eyebrows? lol
I think my eyebrows have cow-licks, they grow in every which way and never like to stay neat and orderly. I'm not concerned with the volume or anything because subhanAllah most people's eyebrow's correctly fit their features but just the overall messiness. I have found that my eyebrows do look more shapely and thinner when they are orderly.
So, in the spirit of keeping things in order, I have found that the secret to nice Muslimah eyebrows is clear mascara. You can use a little clear mascara to shape your eyebrows without trimming and it gives a little hold during the day so they don't freak out again inshaAllah. (if you can't find clear mascara you can also use a little hair gel and an old cleaned mascara wand).
First use the wand to brush your eyebrows upward. You want them to be as close to straight up and down as possible. Then, take the mascara brush and run it along the top of your eyebrows following the natural shape, just pushing down the hairs that are at the very top, leaving the lower eyebrows somewhat in place. Start at the inside corner of your eye and move outward. This will give you a nice arch and sweep inshaAllah!
How do you all deal with the natural eyebrow that comes with Islam??